There is not much advertising photography that captivates the viewer as much sustainable as the photography by Erwin Olaf. Based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands Olaf is one of the most important contemporary Dutch advertising photographers. His photographs are narrative, poetic and atmospheric, yet provocative. That what distinguishes Erwin Olaf from all the other high-gloss photographers is the atmosphere which he transported in his images.
Erwin Olaf's art visualises the unspoken. A single view of one of his pictures is sufficient and a complete history, a tragic fate played out in the mind's eye of the viewer. Olaf's main topic is to show social issues, society taboos and bourgeois conventions. The abandoned woman sitting at the kitchen table, the frivolous lolita with the promising look, the teenage girl just before the abortion. Erwin Olay tell a whole story with a glance and the perfect details in his pictures. But, the full interpretation is always in the eye of the viewer. Also impressive like his concepts is Olaf's handling of light and composition: By mixing photo journalism with studio photography, his images remind us of perfectly orchestrated stage sets. In this way Olay captures the essence of contemporary melancholic emotions in his pictures. Olaf's style is visually sophisticated and conceptually provocative is outstanding.
Erwin Olaf has worked for clients such as Nokia, Levi's, Diesel Jeans, Heineken and Microsoft, his work is represented in museums and collections like the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the FotoMuseum Provincie Antwerpen or the Arts Statements Gallery in Hong Kong. I think Erwin Olaf is more than just an advertising photographer, he is an artist who creates masterpieces of colour, composition and light.
© Erwin Olaf